Creighton falls to Villanova in Big East championship game

South region No. 12 seed Middle Tennessee will battle No. 4 seed Butler on Saturday in Milwaukee.    
   Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

In games against the Blue Jays this year, Villanova is shooting 52% from the field. The Villanova Wildcats are out of the Big East Conference, and are the defending National Champions. "But this team is extraordinarily different".

Wright said he was amazed how well Brunson handled what amounted to a public benching on national TV in the conference championship game at sold-out Madison Square Garden.

Fox also converted a pair of 3-point plays - the biggest of which gave Kentucky a 67-62 lead with 3:07 remaining - en route to 19 points after halftime. Yet advertisers are still willing to fork over major dollars to get in front of the events' large audiences, which include young males, among the most-coveted and hardest-to-reach demographic.

If you want to pick a team from the Big East that's flying under the radar to watch out for in the NCAA tournament, Seton Hall is that team.

When the game first started, it was deja vu.

Last years win couldn't have been any more thrilling, with Kris Jenkins making a last minute 3-point shot to seal the deal!

Josh Hart is lethal. He grabbed three quick rebounds, setting him over 800 for his total career.

Creighton's defense was giving a good fight towards Villanova's offense, and they eventually responded with a bucket of their own for a 9-9 tie. "The player has to call (timeout)".

The Bluejays, meanwhile, face uncertainly only in what seed they will be holding.

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Sterling Brown added 16 points for SMU (28-4), which will play UCF in the semifinals on Saturday. Happ is averaging 13 points and nine rebounds a game and has taken on a crucial leadership role for the Badgers. Both were 33 percent shooting from the field.

Wisconsin revved up the defense against tired Northwestern and got the desired result, a 76-48 victory that earned the No. 24 Badgers a berth in the Big Ten title game in Washington for the third time in five years. The Wildcats have a chance at winning back-to-back championships, which hasn't happened since the Florida Gators did it in 2006-2007. Just to make it to New York, Villanova will have to survive either Virginia Tech or Wisconsin, and both teams are good enough to take out the Cats. During this stretch, Jalen Brunson had scored six straight points for the Wildcats.

Hart, a Player of the Year candidate and Villanova's catalyst for success the past two seasons, didn't hit the Main Line as an elite, can't-miss prospect. But then the Wildcats pulled away. The Wildcats were on a 14-2 run at this point.

Hart (15), Brunson (11) and Jenkins (8) scored 34 of the Wildcats' 36 first half points.

Thursday, 10:48 p.m.: Creighton players make their way back to the court to start the second half. The No. 2-seeded Mountaineers had been a scourge for the Cyclones the past two years, winning the last four meetings in relatively easy fashion.

Villanova shot better than 50 percent from 3-point range (15 for 29), made 21 of 25 free throws and only committed seven personal fouls, none in the first half. The Bluejays never cut the lead within double figures in the final four minutes.

On either side of the East River on Saturday night came the boisterous promise of March.

Arkansas knew it had an edge being much more rested and deeper than Vanderbilt, and the Razorbacks ran right over the Commodores on their way into today's SEC title game in Nashville against No. 8 Kentucky.

Villanova is now 3-5 all time in the Big East tournament final, with its other championships in 1995 and 2015. Josh Hart is leading the team with 18.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while Jalen Brunson is adding 14.7 points and 4.2 assists per game. They won the Big 12 and the Big 12 tournament didn't necessarily mean a whole lot to them. They're the favorites to become the 2016-17 National Champions. Now on to March Madness we go. He is now the Editor-in-Chief of Campus Sports.

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